Not many people claim a term like ridiculousness with pride, but Scouting for Girls’ Roy Stride says fun, quirky lyrics — and a little absurdity — are all part of the UK’s band’s charm.
It seems like a winning formula so far.
Scouting for Girls, formed by childhood friends Stride (band frontman, songwriter and producer), Greg Churchouse (guitarist) and drummer Peter Ellard in 2005, have sold more than two million records, put out four studio albums and won a slew of awards including 2011 Brit Award for Best British Single with This Ain’t A Love Song.
This year, the group celebrates the anniversary of its self-titled debut record by launching another record, Ten Add Ten: The Very Best of Scouting For Girls, and going off on a world tour, which kicks off in the UAE.
Ahead of the show at the Dubai Opera on October 20, the band’s frontman talks songwriting for One Direction, Dubai dreams and why he’ll be dressing up like an elf in a couple of months.
What can Dubai expect from your show?
It’s going to be a bit of a party. It’s our 10th anniversary as a band and obviously, our first headline show in Dubai. We are going to play all of our debut album — it’ll be a bit of a greatest hits’ set, to be honest, but we are going to put most of the hits from the first album — it’s actually going to be the first night of our 10th anniversary tour. I can’t wait.
What are you looking forward to in Dubai, besides the show?
The weather. It’s absolutely miserable here, in London; it’s getting really cold and rubbish. I’ve got some really good friends who’ve moved to Dubai in the last couple of years, so I can’t wait to catch up with them...I’ve sort of wrangled another three days [to be used for] catching up with friends, loads of sightseeing and hopefully some watersports... And probably some waterparks as well. Last time we came we did the water park at Atlantis, The Palm and we still talk about that in the band.
How has the band evolved in these past 10 years?
To be honest, when the band started we really didn’t have a clue what we were doing. We had lots of ambition but we had no expectation that we would ever play for anybody other than our friends... we’d almost given up when it [a record deal] suddenly happened and we had an extraordinary year in 2007 when we got signed and released a record and suddenly, you know, we had four top 10 singles and we sold a million albums, so the first year-and-a-half, two years, went by in a blur...[Now] I think when you see us on stage, you know, we’re probably having more fun than anybody else. I think that’s quite infectious — I think that’s why people like to come see us.
Your single Dancing in the Daylight was out earlier this month; what inspired it, and what’s inspiring you these days?
When we came to this year — we knew 2017 was a big year, because we thought we could do a 10th anniversary tour; we really wanted to celebrate the [first] album; and in London we did a show on the day we got signed, like our 10th anniversary… it’s a beautiful tiny little venue, only holds 300 people and we did a ballot for them to get tickets and some, like, 20,000 people applied to get tickets. So when we got that.... we went back and listened to that album and I kinda looked back to see what it was about these songs that people loved, and it’s fun, quirky lyrics, it’s really up-tempo and it’s fun. And with Dance in the Daylight that’s essentially what I tried to do — to essentially write a song that could fit on the first album; a little bit fun, a little bit stupid, a little bit ridiculous and would make people smile.
You’ve written songs for a number of other bands, including One Direction. Have you ever had a my-band-would-have-done-this-better moment?
I have done. Yeah [laughs]. And sometimes, our drummer, Pete, he’s been really angry with me...[when] I’ve given away [songs to] other people. But usually, when I’m songwriting for someone else, I write with other people and it’s a much more collaborative approach and so, we are writing with the idea of someone else singing them. It somehow works in our favour… we’ve got a song called Millionaire [for example], [which] we released a couple of years ago [and] which was originally written for One Direction, and for some reason they weren’t sure about it and we kind of missed deadline so we kept it and it’s become a real fan favourite. I kind of now write songs that I love and then if they find a home with someone else then that’s great and if they don’t, then I can put it out myself.
Tell us about the 10 challenges you’ve taken up for Alzheimer’s Society.
I think this is one of the most stupid ideas we’ve ever had. We’ve kind of regretted it at various parts during the last 12 months. The idea was to do 10 challenges to create money and awareness for Alzheimer’s society. Because my mum had Alzheimer’s, well dementia, in the last few days of her life. And so we started off in January: we did a half-marathon in March — and to be honest the three of us are the least fit athletes in the world; we kind of got into music to get out of doing sport at school — then we did the London full marathon, which was even harder and we’ve done a couple of other walks…. we are going to be busking in the streets of Dublin dressed as Christmas elves — that’s not one I’m looking forward to. But we raised over £10,000 (Dh48,544), which was our challenge, so it’s been really good.
What’s your favourite song off the new album?
It’s actually a Christmas song — it’s called Kids at Christmas, the last song on there. It’s fun and upbeat, it’s got a touch of nostalgia, which a lot of Scouting for Girls’ songs have, and it’s also got my kids singing on it. My kids are six and eight, and I got them to sing the chorus with me.
A message for the fans?
Thank you for having us. We can’t wait to come and play...
Don’t miss it!
Tickets for the Scouting for Girls show start at Dh150.